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DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Team's play lately has been divine

We need a name for these guys. The Yankee Clippers? The Sons of Tito? How about the No More Nomars?

Boston's summer of 1967 produced the Impossible Dreamers, a team that forged a baseball renaissance in the Hardball Hub of the universe. The Sox won 10 in a row after the All-Star break and inspired a near riot at Logan Airport when they came back from a sweep in Cleveland. They made it to the seventh game of the World Series.

In 1988, we had Morgan Magic, when a talented team rallied after the overdue firing of a miserable manager. Energized by the removal of John McNamara, the Sox won 12 in a row and 19 of 20 en route to the division title.

Last year, the theme was Cowboy Up, featuring the Boys Gone Wild video from the night they clinched a playoff spot. They made it to within five outs of the World Series and gave birth to assorted books, videos, full-length feature films, and Grady Little bobble-arm dolls (no New England home is complete without one).

Now this. Take a team treading water for three months and make it nearly unbeatable by trading the most popular player of a generation.

The Red Sox made it nine in a row last night, completing a three-game sweep of the estimable Angels with a 4-3 victory. They have won 10 straight at Fenway. They have won 15 of their last 16. They are a season-high 26 games over .500. They have won 18 of 21 and 21 of 25. They are 23-8 since trading Nomar Garciaparra. Next thing you know "Tessie" will top the charts and the Dropkick Murphys will bump Buffett for top billing at Fenway.

Tonight, it'll be Pedro Martinez against John Wasdin, a game Vegas might well take off the board.

Truly, tonight's game will be the ultimate test of the famed Reverse Lock theory spawned in Baltimore in the 1970s. The Reverse Lock holds that when everything about a matchup seems overwhelming in favor of one team, the other team will prevail. Tonight, we have the white-hot Sox facing the slumping Rangers, at Fenway, with Pedro on the mound for Boston and "Way Back" Wasdin toeing the slab for Texas. If there was ever a game to test the Reverse Lock, this would be it. The Reverse Lock is the only thing that can prevent the Sox from winning.

Smoking Johnny Damon (9 for 14 in the series) said, "Our owners put together a team capable of being the best team in baseball. We weren't showing that earlier. But you can feel it now. You can commend the moves we made and the moves we didn't make, but this team is coming together at the right time."

The Angels, meanwhile, slumped out of Boston without ever knowing what hit them. The Red Sox bolted to a 10-1 lead Tuesday, won, 12-7, Wednesday, and completed the sweep last night. Boston scored five in the first three innings of the first two games and four in the first three frames last night. Get ready for another avalanche of "the Sox are stealing signs at home" stories. Maybe that diabolical Dr. Charles Steinberg has spies behind the Giant Glass sign in center.

The Sox gained no ground on the slogan-slingin' Yankees. But the Sox are now closer to the Yankees (3 1/2 games) than the Angels are to the Oakland A's (4). Boston put a major dent in Anaheim's playoff chances and the Sox can effectively eliminate the Rangers from wild-card consideration with a Labor Day weekend sweep.

The finale against the Angels was the toughest of the three-game showdown. The Sox cranked 10 hits off Bartolo "Cheeseburger In Paradise" Colon, but left a lot of runners on base (14 for the night) and led by only one run when Colon left. (Bartolo was excited to hear about Buffett coming to Fenway, then frowned when informed the Sox were promoting a feast for the ears).

It was one of those games they could easily have blown. The Sox failed to score in the fourth when their 3-4-5 hitters failed to take advantage of runners on second and third. Manny Ramirez took three third strikes, each time with runners in scoring position. Bill Mueller looked at strike three on a 3-and-2 pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth. The Sox had two hits in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position. Usually when you do those things, you wind up losing the game. Not now. Not the way these guys are going.

"The Angels are a tremendous ball club," said Jason Varitek, who gunned down Troy Glaus at second in a huge play in the ninth. "We've got to continue what we've been doing."

Let's not forget that the Sox got a gutty effort from the much-maligned Derek Lowe, who is 13-10 and 6-1 in his last nine starts. Lowe struggled for a good part of the night, but got stronger in the sixth and seventh, striking out four batters in the crucial two frames while the Sox clung to their one-run lead.

Another good night for the No More Nomars. Anaheim's gone. Texas is next. Oakland waits in the on-deck circle next week in Northern California.

And pretty soon the No More Nomars will get another shot at the Yankees. Six games.

The regular season ends a month from today, but throughout the Nation there is certainty that these Red Sox -- by any other name -- will be playing deeper into October.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is dshaughnessy@globe.com.

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